Now that ESPN has NHL back, it plans to give viewers a closer look at the action than ever before.
Disney’s ABC/ESPN is paying $400 million annually to serve as the league’s lead TV partner, while Turner Sports is paying $225 million per year for the “B” package.
Tuesday marks ESPN’s first NHL coverage in 17 years. Here’s what to expect:
- On-ice cameras: Camera operators will be on the ice during shootouts. “It gives you a perspective of the size of the players,” said producer Mark Gross, “and it gets viewers on the ice.”
- Situation room: ESPN will place a camera in the replay room in Toronto and use ex-ref Dave Jackson for deeper analysis on reviews.
- Locker room access: Some coaches will be mic’d for pregame speeches, as well as select players in warm-ups.
- Puck tracking: New technology will highlight puck and player movement.
ESPN wants the TV experience to match, or surpass, the famously intense in-person NHL experience.
“Hearing a pregame speech from a coach? They’re not getting that in the arena,” Gross said.